Trump Trumps Bush: Electoral Legitimacy in U.S. Presidential Elections
28 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2017 Last revised: 27 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 23, 2018
In the United States, the legitimacy of presidents who do not obtain a majority of the popular vote is often questioned. Debates on electoral legitimacy tend to revolve around the relative importance of the Electoral College and the popular vote. We develop a theory of electoral legitimacy judgments when legitimacy depends on these two factors. Under natural restrictions on these judgments, the legitimacy of some candidates can be unambiguously compared. In particular, we show that D. Trump’s election was more legitimate than G.W. Bush’s 2000 election. We also show that Trump’s election remains one of the most contentious in history.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation